Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

emailtwitterfacebooklinkedin
line

forgiveness

Is real change possible if we can’t forgive?

Is real change possible if we can’t forgive?

by Moyra Mackie on January 18, 2017

Recently a coaching client told me:

“I’m really trying to be more collaborative but I can see it in their eyes; they don’t trust me.  They remember the old me – how can things get better if we can’t get beyond this?”

This is not the first client who has found it hard to change because others still remember the past

Which brings to mind my favourite Tony Robbins quote:

“Everybody’s got a past.  The past does not equal the future unless you live there.”

It strikes me that any kind of change – whether inside you, within teams or even between whole nations – involves the ability to let go of the past.  I think change requires forgiveness.

What I learnt about forgiveness by going home

It was April 1989 and I had been looking out of the airplane window, ever since we crossed the Zambezi River from Zambia into Zimbabwe.  It was autumn and the bush below was losing its summer green, revealing small settlements, the occasional herd of elephant and long, straight gunmetal grey roads breaking up the red earth stretching all the way to the horizon.

As the plane bounced down onto the runway, I realised that I had been away for half my life.

But I felt that I was coming home 

Walking across the tarmac I wondered what lay ahead. I was a white woman with a British passport – I potentially represented colonial white privilege.

Was the past another country?

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
The memories that make us

The memories that make us

by Moyra Mackie on August 15, 2015

I’ve been reflecting on the power birthdays and anniversaries have to provoke powerful memories and emotions.

This Sunday it’s my best friend’s sixtieth birthday.

We met in the Customer Service department of a local manufacturing company.

We were both starting out

I was searching for my first graduate job, whilst Larraine considered she was in her “first proper job” having left school at 16 to have her son.  I had just returned from a gap year travelling through Africa, whilst she had never strayed too far from her home town in Hertfordshire.

I was 22 and Larraine was 33.

Yet there didn’t seem to be an age gap 

It wasn’t that I was particularly wise, or she particularly young at heart; our differences either enriched our relationship or seemed insignificant.  What I notice looking back is how present we were; we accepted each other how we were, with the past and future being a lot less important than the connection we were forming in the present.

Larraine had “no side” – she just wasn’t the kind to bitch and moan or the kind to hold grudges.

Being with someone so forgiving was good for me

Larraine’s kindness hid a toughness and determination.  I remember her telling me how determined she was to be the best mother she could be because, “at sixteen everyone was expecting me to fail.”  Ditto her determination with her marriage. Her two children were indeed kind, lively and loving, although her marriage was more volatile.

Larraine frequently said that she lived her life backwards

When she was in her teens she was a responsible stay at home mum and in her thirties she started work and discovered a social life.  In the decade after I met her she found the courage to leave her husband and carve out a career for herself.  She formed new relationships, and started travelling, just as I settled down and had my son.

And still the differences didn’t matter

The one thing that began to count was that like a lot of sunny people, Larraine wrestled with depression.  She also suffered from debilitating headaches which could keep her in bed for days.  Sometimes I wondered if the two were linked.

She was the only one of my friends who came to visit me when I lived in North Carolina in the nineties – providing some incredibly happy memories of renting a beach house in the Outer Banks and spending hours walking along the beach or sitting on the porch, all the time talking and laughing.

When my son turned three it was Larraine that helped me – now eight months pregnant – hold a party for a dozen hyperactive kids.  When everyone left we ate what was left of the Thomas the Tank Engine cake and talked about what it would be like when my second son was born.  She had just become a grandmother and we talked about how great it would be for them to play together.

It was a lovely sunny spring day and I had been given four birch saplings by a neighbour.  I gave one to Larraine and we parted after we had crammed a birch sapling into her car.  She drove away with the branches sticking out of the window, sounding her horn and shouting goodbye.

It was the last time I saw her

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line